Recently, Barbara Arguedas, a button collector from Santa Fe, New Mexico, was asked to give a presentation about buttons at the Cimarron Heritage Center in Boise, Oklahoma.  The museum has a significant button collection.

Barbara kindly wrote up an interesting report of her visit to the Center and took some photographs.  The button collection cannot properly be appreciated from the photos, but one can get an idea of the beauty and diversity of the collection.

Buttons in Boise City, OK


This museum in No Man’s Land is an altogether interesting place that my husband and I discovered some years ago when we were returning to Santa Fe from a trip to St. Louis.  We have since stopped there three more times.   I was very excited to find the collection at the Cimarron Heritage Center.  Here is an excerpt from the CHC website:


“Thanks to the talents of Mrs. Opal Cox, wife of Julius Cox, the Cimarron Heritage Center is able to enjoy and display the Cox Button Collection. Mrs. Cox spent many years collecting, sorting, and mounting buttons in attractive arrangements on 8-1/2x11 cards. 4,628 buttons have been mounted! Mrs. Cox identified many of the buttons on the back of cards, as to where/who the button came from, some are dated, and other significant historical information, if known, is present. She was a meticulous collector.

Mrs. Opal Cox's family homesteaded in Cimarron County in 1906, and in 1925 the family moved to Boise City.

Mr. and Mrs. Julius Cox donated their home to the Cimarron County Historical Society and it currently serves as an important part of the Cimarron Heritage Center. Volunteers of the Cimarron Heritage Center have built a special case to display this collection.”

Yes, Mrs. Cox was a serious collector.  Some buttons are grouped by material, particularly the glass ones.  Many are mounted in geometric patterns and even in curved patterns with lines seemingly formed by a Spirograph.  I was told that many of the display cards had been damaged by water when they were found in a lower section of the house which had flooded.  Volunteers set them outside to dry out; most were saved, some, unfortunately, rusted.  Apparently some of the buttons that Mrs. Cox collected were gathered from neighbors, friends, and relatives.  She also wrote to various notables including US Presidents to ask that they send her buttons and many responded.


Boise City was the geographic center of the Dust Bowl and has seen its share of hard times, yet they boast the Cimarron Heritage Center.  There is pride in the community.  The area history includes that of the Santa Fe Trail, and in fact we visited Autograph Rock nearby. 

I returned to Santa Fe quite satisfied with the visit to the Cimarron Heritage Center in Boise City, Oklahoma.

Cimarron Heritage Center ~Boise City, Oklahoma~